Mud Blossoms | Alice Klingman

The Heder Gallery, Tel-Aviv, October - December 2010

In her installation and photography exhibition Alice Klingman examines the complex relationships that exist between man and place. The lives of a group of people on the fringes of society, homeless, living in the woods bordering Tel Aviv – Jaffa, serve as an arena for Klingman to investigate the attachment between man and his environment.  At first glance her works give rise to a bucolic feeling that soon changes into the anxiety associated with socially and economically uprooted and displaced lives.  Thus, permeating through the preliminary seductive appearance of her works broadcasting beauty and vitality are disturbing feelings of fear and uneasiness. The vulnerability of the area’s residents is recreated in Klingman’s studio through the use of objects she collects in the vicinity – tree branches, clumps of earth, pinecones.  Moments before losing their tangible existence in the real world these objects are captured by the camera and given a new meaning.  Klingman’s concentrated observation and documentation of these objects serve as a means of dealing with loss and perhaps, as a fantasy, the possibility of salvation.  According to Kingman her connection with the place, including its residents, developed gradually and continued for a period of six years. “ At first I observed the group from afar, from the direction of the main road that cuts through the place. Eventually I overcame my feelings of hesitation and fear until finally I went in openly with the camera and tripod…”

In Klingman’s work the beautiful and the painful, the romantic and the harsh are joined into a collection of images that in addition conduct a reflexive dialogue with art history.  The romantic painting of the early 19th century with its expressions of enthusiasm for nature’s beauty and wildness, late 19th century expressionist painting that offered direct observations of nature  – these approaches are consciously referred to in Klingmans creations, though in her works they are immersed in feelings of existential pain.  Like the expressionist painters, Klingman too returns again and again to the same location, recording in numerous works its shifting light and the snippets of life in the changing landscape. The disparity between the beauty of the place and the seeming harmony of existence there, and the actual harsh lives, exposed and vulnerable, of those who use it as a shelter, creates a bitter contrast.

 Echoes of Claude Monet’s water lilies can be seen in Klingman’s

“ Mud Blossoms”  – a floor installation made from white silicone sanitary gloves dipped in hardened mud. The gloves providing insulation that allows for non-contact and sterility appear in “Mud Blossoms” as an antithesis to the eternal vitality of the delicate water lilies they allude to.

The Heder Gallery, Tel-Aviv

פרחי אדמה | תערוכת יחיד לאליס קלינגמן גלריה החדר
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